Preston Sturges! (Sung maniacally, to the tune of “Western Union”.)

Preston Sturges is the absolute King of the Romantic Comedy, in my opinion, and though I am a chronic equivocator, this is one area where I hold steadfast. Sure, there’s Lubitsch. Sure, there’s Capra. Yes, there’s also Wilder. Those are all great points. But Sturges is King. (As I imagine is obvious, if it’s post-1965 I’m agin' it. ‘Romantic Comedy-wise’ as Jack Lemmon’s character in The Apartment would say.)

It’s a tough choice, but at the top of my ranked-Sturges list is The Palm Beach Story. It stars the iridescent Claudette Colbert – she also starred in The Smiling Lieutenant (Lubitsch) and It Happened One Night (Capra), and it’s no accident that those are my favorites in their respective oeuvres. Recounting the plot would only provide a pale reflection, so I’ll just say this: "You have no idea what a long-legged woman can do without doing anything”.

The Onion’s AV Club did a fantastic ‘primer’on Sturges a few months ago. The writer describes Veronica Lake’s introduction in Sullivan’s Travels as “machine-gun screwball flirtation at its finest, conversation as half blood-sport, half seduction”. Yes, that’s Sturges.